KUCHING (Nov 18): Some 300 Sarawakian students of private and public higher learning institutions have returned home to vote in this 15th General Election (GE15) thanks to the efforts made by Rise of Social Efforts (ROSE) and CSO Platform for Reform (Sarawak chapter).
According to the spokesperson of ROSE and CSO Platform for Reform (Sarawak chapter), the public crowdfunding has managed to raise a total of RM42,072.51, out of their RM50,000 initial target.
“With the help of the public, we managed to raise a total of RM42,072.51 and this has enabled our 237 students to return home to cast their very first vote in the GE15,” said the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in their media release.
“We thank each and every one of our generous donors and contributors for making the campaign a success.
“Without these funds, we would not have been able to undertake this programme and your noble act and moral support for our programme are very much appreciated,” they said.
Siswa Balik Initiative, under the #JuhBalitNgundi campaign was launched Nov 3, in a bid to send as many local Sarawakian students studying away from their hometowns and villages to return home to vote.
The NGOs, however, opined that things could have been made easier if only the government had cared enough to facilitate travels for students who study in another state or far from their voting station.
They added that they had received a substantial number of applications for this campaign but had to turn down some due to financial restrictions.
“Crowdfunding is only a temporary remedial action to this problem. The government, especially the Election Commission (EC) has to step in and provide a permanent solution,” the NGOs stressed.
“We demand for students to be given the facility and the right to vote by post or alternatively to vote in advance at their respective public or private higher learning institutions if they are studying away from their hometowns.
“We believe that our demand is not beyond the realms of possibility and there should be no excuse to deny the rights of our young people to vote,” said the statement, adding that the government’s plans on youth empowerment will only be mere talk if their voting rights cannot be accessed.
The NGOs also urged all Sarawakian candidates from all parties to highlight this issue on their agenda.